Headlines from the Caspian: February 7, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Feb 7, 2023
Energy and Economy
Uzbekistan and Russia Discuss Potential to Reverse Gas Pipeline
Uzbekistan and Russia announced that they will discuss a potential gas flow swap. Currently, the Central Asia – Center pipeline is equipped to pump natural gas from Uzbekistan to Russia, but they are now discussing the possibility of changing flows from Russia to Uzbekistan. The Russian gas shipments may aid in Uzbekistan’s current energy storage caused by extreme cold weather and disruptions in supplies from Turkmenistan.
Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Turkmenistan Sign Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement
On February 4, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed the “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Government of the Republic of Türkiye and the Government of Turkmenistan on trade and economic cooperation.” This agreement was initially signed on August 14, 2022, but this signed agreement ensures the implementation of its provisions by Azerbaijan.
Turkmenistan to Donate LNG to Uzbekistan
President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov signed an agreement to donate liquified natural gas (LNG) to Uzbekistan to help with its current energy shortage. The volume of the gas was not specified.
Masdar Opens Office in Azerbaijan
UAE-state owned renewable energy company, Masdar opened an office in Baku on February 6. This milestone is part of increased efforts from the Abu Dhabi-based company to contribute to Azerbaijan’s growing renewable sector and commitment to forging lower-carbon alternatives in Azerbaijan.
Source: Yahoo Finance
Kazakhstan Closes its Trade Mission in Russia
On February 3, legislation was passed in Kazakhstan on closing of its trade mission in Russia. The trade mission was reportedly closed in order to “optimize work state bodies and taking into account the high level of interaction with Russia”. This decision was made at a time during the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to Kazakhstan as a part of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council meetings.
Security and Politics
Azerbaijan Detains 40 Suspected Iranian Spies
Local media has reported that Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry arrested forty individuals as suspects in an investigation of an Iranian spy network. At the end of January, the Azeri government removed embassy staff and family members from Iran after a gunman killed an embassy security guard and wounded two others.
7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southeast Türkiye
On February 6, northern Syria and southeast Türkiye were hit by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake, resulting in the deaths of over 1,900 people. In response, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan promptly offered assistance in emergency efforts.
Turkmenistan Fires Head of National Security
On February 3, during a Security Council meeting, Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdimuhamedov announced the dismissal of the Head of the Supreme Court and his deputies, along with the Head of National Security. The former head of Migration Service replaced the Security Chief.
Source: Turkmen News
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy Visits Azerbaijan
The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy in the Bureau of Energy Resources Laura Lochman traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan to attend the Ninth Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council. Lochman also held a meeting with the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, discussing U.S. support for Azerbaijan’s energy projects as well as Azerbaijan’s importance in helping stabilize European energy security, including through the Southern Gas Corridor.
Sources: AkiPress, Agenda.ge, Astana Times, Caucasuswatch.de, Daily Sabah, Euractiv, MenaFN, Reuters, Reuters, RFE/RL, USA Today, Trend.az, Turkmen News, Yahoo Finance,